| AURIGA Chart | Midnight Culmination | Skylore | Description | Asterisms |
| Special Stars | Star Clusters | Discussed in these Shows |

Constellation Data

  • Name: AURIGA
  • Translation: Charioteer
  • Abbreviation: Aur
  • Genitive: Aurigae
  • Size: 21
  • Located Between: Taurus, Gemini, Perseus
  • RA: 6 hours
  • Decl: +40 degrees
  • Season: Winter
  • Midnight Culmination: 21 December
  • Pages where AURIGA is discussed in Chet Raymo's 365 Starry Nights: 3,17-18,24,25,79

What is the Genitive form?
What is Right Ascension (RA)?
Is this constellation ever visible from my latitude? What is Declination?

Where should I look for a constellation on a date before or after its midnight culmination? What is Midnight Culmination?


Erichthonios, a son of Vulcan and legendary king of Athens, invented the four-horse-drawn chariot to compensate for his being lame.

Cicero, De natura deorum, II.110, trans. of Phenomena by Aratos of Soli (ca. 220 B.C.):
Hidden beneath the Twins' left flank will glide
Him Helice (Ursa Minor) confronts with aspect fierce;
At his left shoulder the bright She-goat stands.
A constellation vast and brilliant she,
Whereas the Kids emit a scanty light
Upon humankind.


Lies in the Milky Way, with many binocular and telescopic objects, between Gemini, Perseus and Taurus, at the top of the Winter Hexagon. Auriga looks like a pentagon, if one includes Alnath, which is also the tip of one of Taurus the Bull's horns (Alnath was once Gamma-Aurigae, but is now officially Beta-Tauri).

[star chart]

Star chart created with Voyager II Software for Macintosh, published by Carina Software. This is just a taste of what Voyager can do! For info on Voyager II software, call Carina Software at (510) 355-1266, write them at 12919 Alcosta Blvd Suite #7, San Ramon, CA 94583, or visit Carina Software's home page and check out Voyager II for yourself.


Kids: three stars make a small triangle near Capella (their Mom).

Winter Hexagon

What is an Asterism?

Special Stars

Capella, the She-goat (alpha-Aurigae) is the top of the Winter Hexagon, and appears overhead in winter for northern observers like Vega does in the summertime (except Capella is yellowish and Vega is bluish). Capella and Vega are equadistant from Polaris, on opposite sides; watch for both of them in the evening skies of April. Declination: +46 degrees north; Capella is the northernmost of first magnitude stars. Distance: 45 LY. From spectrographic evidence, Capella is known to be a pair of yellow-giant stars very close together. The Capella star system also includes a pair of dim red dwarf stars.

Epsilon-Aurigae, or Almaaz, is the Kid star closest to Capella. Distance: 4600 LY. Usual magnitude: 3.0. It is an eclipsing binary, with an unseen companion that comes in front of Almaaz every 27 years. For one year Almaaz fades to 3.8 magnitude before recovering. Watch for the next fade in 2009, reaching its faintest between 2011 and 2012!

Table of 25 Brightest Stars.
What is apparent stellar magnitude?

Star Clusters

Three open clusters are within range of binoculars:

M36 (open cluster), mag. 6.5.

M37 (open cluster), mag. 6.2. 3600 LY.

M38 (open cluster), mag. 7.0.

What are Star Clusters?

Discussed in these Shows

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